The biggest issue for Reinhart is his lack of strength, but he still managed to increase his point total to 47 in his sophomore year, which is a encouraging sign. It certainly helps that Reinhart is considered one of the smartest young players in the game, and his hockey IQ and on-ice awareness allow him to be successful even if he tends to lose puck battles. Drafted as a center by Buffalo with the No. 2 overall pick in 2014, Reinhart has almost exclusively played on Jack Eichel’s right wing, and with both players looking healthy to enter the season (as opposed to last year, when Eichel missed the first 21 games), the 21-year-old could be in line for a true breakout year. He’s already a major factor on the power play, as Reinhart has 27 man-advantage points in his back pocket from the past two seasons.
Playing Reinhart on Jack Eichel’s right wing last year was such a success that the Sabres hinted they might keep their two wunderkinds together, even though Reinhart was drafted as a center. Not the best skater or the most dazzling, Reinhart continues to impress and stymie everyone with his smarts, whether it’s a well-placed bank pass, well-timed line change or simply having a knack for being Johnny-on-the-spot. Despite being hailed as a two-way center, Reinhart scored 23 goals and 42 points this past season as a rookie, just one shy of Eichel’s totals, and posted the team’s best shooting percentage at 13.9. He’s a blue-chip prospect playing on an emerging team and pencilled in as a top-six forward, so don't be afraid to take the plunge come draft day.
Reinhart is a stud, but he’s been overshadowed in just about every situation he’s been in, and that is still the case today. Eichelmania has now swept Buffalo, but Reinhart has the ability to become a point-per-game, two-way center. His hockey IQ is off the charts, and he’s a leader on the ice. And perhaps most impressively, Reinhart thinks the game several steps ahead of his opponents and is always in the right place at the right time in both zones. He’ll push for a job in training camp and has the tools to get one. But the top-six spots are already allocated for other players, and the Sabres will need to decide if they want Reinhart to toil in a checking role in the NHL or play top-line minutes in the AHL. The latter is the best for his career, so his single-year value is limited. But the future is bright for this future alternate captain.
Reinhart is a smart, two-way center who was born to lead. He has X-ray vision, impeccable timing and lethal offensive skills. And his hockey smarts are off the charts – then again, you might expect that given his pro bloodlines. He’s not the biggest guy and he occasionally gets knocked for lackadaisical play. But he’s actually just waiting for the right opening and he just steps right through. TV pundits like to toss around comparisons to Jonathan Toews, but there’s only one of those. But he’s a future top-line center who will make those around him better while delivering a point-per-game pace. But that’s a few seasons away. He’s a great dynasty pick, but you’ll need to determine where he fits on the Sabres before tabbing him in single-year formats.